Like Adscam, the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal would not have legs if it were driven solely by the opposition. Some are interested in clean government and some have less innocent motivations. Regardless of the spin put out by the Conservatives about Mulroney’s liberal media “tormenters”, the list of people interested in the story is not at all limited to those with sentimental attachments to the Liberals, Bloc or NDP.
There are old and strange stories about how Mulroney gathered delegates to ouster former Tory leader Joe Clark and even more about the following leadership convention. It’s the kind of boozy rumour that comes out after a few drinks and often sounds more like the onset of Korsakoff’s disease than the truth. Believe nothing you hear and only half of what you see. But the progressives of Joe Clark’s ilk have been largely frozen out of the current Bush-styled Conservative party, a fact that is not forgotten in the minds of some. And whatever your feelings about the (family values=white power?) Reform party, they were not great fans of Mulroney either and it’s hard not to believe Preston Manning was sincere about cleaning up the lobbying industry and Ottawa graft. Harper’s interests are another issue. Many believe that Harper is primarily interested in staying in power and so the odd on-again-off-again support over the last month for Brian Mulroney I suspect is a reflection of the inner dynamics within his own party more so than a genuine response to the ethical issues. I am not a conservative. I do not know and I do not want to know. The point I am trying to make is that there are people inside and outside the Conservative party who want to hear more about the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal and that interest will move a public inquiry forward.
As I wrote in the first of two posts, I had the good sense to blush during the last election campaign in response to Adscam. The Liberals were put in the penalty box for failing to pay attention to corruption. It’s a good metaphor and one that a lot of people including most Liberals accept. The Liberal government was being careless about minimizing corruption. Although at base, I am still more interested in politics because of issues like global warming and efficient health care delivery, I respect those who are sincerely fighting for clean government whether with their arguments or their votes. For them the Mulroney-Schrieber inquiry is not a vendetta. Why should I argue against them again?
To be honest, I was among those that were content when the story died many years ago because I was just so tired of Mulroney and I thought Liberals and Canada had more important issues to attend to at the time. Granted more incriminating evidence has since been brought to light, still this lazy attitude toward investigating corruption was wrong and is what ultimately led to Adscam. All partisan exaggerations aside, the real problem in Adscam was not that the Liberal party or its membership were corrupt, but rather that there was a pretend-its-not there toleration of illegal activity, a blindness for corruption.
If the lesson learned by lobbyists and public office holders from the Mulroney-Schreiber scandal is that dubious money transactions under the amount of $300,000 are o.k., then the cost of a public inquiry is minimal in comparison to the amount of corruption that we are otherwise inviting upon ourselves.